Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Kirsch Review of Faye's book on Heidegger

            A reader sent me the following review of The Introduction of Nazism Into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars of 1933-1935 by Adam Kirsch:
            I was not impressed with Faye -- even less so than Adam Kirsch.  Kirsch writes, "In these classes, Faye proves beyond doubt, we do witness “the introduction of Nazism into philosophy,” the outright transformation of Heidegger’s thought into a tool of Nazi indoctrination. The more familiar a reader is with Heideg­ger’s work, the more shocking it will be to see him employ his key terms — being, existence, decision — as euphemisms for nationalism and Führer-worship. Thus we find him, in the winter of 1933-34, declaring that “the question of the awareness of the will of the community is a problem that is posed in all democracies, but one that of course can become fruitful only when the will of the Führer and the will of the people are identified in their essence.” At the same time, Heidegger tells his students — “many of whom,” Faye points out, “were to become combatants at the beginning of the following decade on the Eastern front” — that “to a Semitic nomad,” the “nature of our German space” is inherently foreign."
            Which sounds telling except that his use of words from his philosophy in support of what he was teaching his students about National Socialism would be a natural thing to do if he thought National Socialism was heading in the direction of his philosophy.  Even if he didn't, why would Heidegger use a completely new vocabulary, when he had his own ready to hand -- I doubt that he was concerned about the future Faye suggesting that his philosophy was Nazi philosophy?  It is a very weak argument to suggest that because one uses the same words in two different contexts that the contexts must be connected.  Faye of course goes further and suggests that the contexts are the same.  I did not finish Faye's book because I had no confidence that he understood what comprised a logical argument.  This review by Adam Kirsch has done nothing to change my mind. 
            Kirsch also reveiwed Daniel Maier-Katkin's Stranger from Abroad, Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness.  I don't think Heidegger's reputation is in jeopardy as a result of Faye's bizarre allegations.  Kirsch, and perhaps Maier-Katkin assert that Arendt's reputation is tied to Faye being wrong.  Not to worry.  Faye's unsupported allegations are based upon wishful thinking and not sound evidence. 

1 comment:

pensum said...

now that the lecture notes that Faye based his argument on have been published (in German) it would seem the shrill tone of Faye's diatribe can finally be exposed as the empty rant that many feel it is, check this review. out.